The local ministry for agriculture was investigating reports yesterday that a cow that died in Minorca this week may have died of BSE. If the cause of death is confirmed then it will be the first reported case of BSE in the Balearics. The suspicious case will have to be investigated by a special Animal Disease Laboratory in Zaragoza. The carcass of the infected animal was sent there yesterday. Yesterday's announcement comes just days after the local government said that all meat on sale in the Balearics was free of BSE. The local government says that all meat is thoroughly tested. Demand for beef has already fallen by about 75 per cent and despite government assurances the general public is not convinced. Minorca was also severely hit by the Blue Tonguesvirus which affected sheep. Thousands had to be sacrificed. This BSE scare will do nothing but harm to Minorcan farmers, who unlike Majorca, still have a thriving agriculture industry.